The US Department of the Treasury has issued personal sanctions against eleven Chinese officials, including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Washington blasts each as responsible for the “degradation of Hong Kong’s autonomy.”
The reasons listed for sanctioning each individual relate to their actions against Hong Kong protesters and their ties to China.
“The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong and we will use our tools and authorities to target those undermining their autonomy,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in a statement about the sanctions, which were accomplished through an executive order from President Donald Trump.
Any property and assets belonging to the individuals sanctioned will be frozen.
Lam is pointed to by the US as being “directly responsible for implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes.” She previously waved off the idea of being sanctioned by Washington saying, “I do not have any assets in the United States nor do I long for moving to the United States.”
The US ramped up pressure on China after Beijing passed a new national security law, which allowed it to tackle anti-government actions in Hong Kong. The legislation was passed after months of mass protests and rioting in the city.
China said the legislation was necessary to keep public order in the territory. Its critics say the move violates the commitment not to interfere with Hong Kong’s internal affairs given when the city was transferred back under its sovereignty after decades as a British colony.
The opposition protests have attracted the support of many Western countries – something that China perceives as interference in its internal affairs.
The Trump administration has taken a number of steps against Beijing recently, including launching an attack on the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat apps. Washington claimed the popular services posed a threat to US national security. The move sparked criticism from Beijing, while TikTok suggested taking legal action in response.
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